What is a Financial Plan?

This article describes the purpose and process of building a financial plan.

Nancy Gates avatar
Written by Nancy Gates
Updated over a week ago

Are you wondering if a financial plan makes sense for you?

Financial planning isn't just for the wealthy. At NewRetirement you have the ability to create a roadmap for your financial future regardless of age, income, or accumulated assets. When you build a plan you ensure that you’re doing everything you should to get your hands around your finances, prepare for a secure financial future, and eliminate those doubts and worries.

What is the purpose of a financial plan?

A personalized financial plan entails a holistic look at your entire financial picture and empowers you to align your personal values, priorities, and goals with your financial resources. Building a plan includes assessing the probability that you will achieve your goals, evaluating and mitigating any risks you may face, as well as finding opportunities, and identifying the steps you can take to create the life you want today and in the future.

What are the main steps in creating a financial plan?

Get Organized

Getting organized includes clarification of your financial and non-financial information. Begin by defining your personal values, priorities and goals. Then, gather your financial information including; your income, net worth, cashflow, assets that can be used to reach your goals, liabilities and debt repayment plans, insurance and emergency preparedness plans in addition to your estate plan. As you build your financial plan you will weave all of your information together and develop your personal financial narrative.

See Where You Stand

Planning entails determining your priorities and often striving towards multiple goals that you may have. Once you’ve clarified your non-financial and financial information, you have the ability to assess your Plan Health and see how your plan aligns with your priorities and goals. Assessing your plan might include the following:

  • Test your plan under Optimistic, Average, and Pessimistic Assumptions

  • View your Chance of Success to assess your plan’s viability

  • View your Income Score and see how your income covers your expenses from your retirement age through longevity

  • Assess your progress towards your individual aspirations and common benchmarks

  • See whether you can stop working at your desired retirement date and meet your spending, estate, and legacy goals

  • Assess your Net Worth against any estate and legacy goals

  • Rely on hypothetical simulations to evaluate the inevitable uncertainty of the future

Learn What Else is Possible

Planning is multifaceted and it is important to get beyond crunching numbers and data analysis. This step entails taking a comprehensive look at your plan and employing a variety of tools to identify potential plan improvements. Whether your plan is looking great or shows some weaknesses, taking the time to find opportunities and compare alternative paths may allow you to do better with your time and money.

  • Evaluate the measures that are important to you with our Insights Library and Coach Reports.

  • Use our Explorers to:

    • Increase you secure income by identifying an optimal Social Security claiming strategy

    • Save taxes with Roth Conversions

    • Assess the impact of market fluctuations on your plan

  • Compare alternatives by creating a variety of scenarios

Determine Your Next Steps & Take Action

Once you've identified areas of improvement, determine the steps you'll take to achieve your goals, engage any outside help you need, and take action towards the life you dream about.

Monitor and Sustain Your Plan

Planning is an ongoing process founded on flexibility. As life changes so do your values, needs, and priorities. Revisit your plan regularly and ensure that your plan changes with you.


By definition, any long-term plan is subject to limitations. Financial plans are:

  • Static

  • Sensitive to the accuracy of the data used

  • Sensitive to underlying assumptions such as:

    • Longevity age

    • Rate of return

    • Inflation

    • Future legislation

  • Imprecise as they project further into the future

A sound financial is a long term projection, and as such should not be relied upon for precise year to year estimations.

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